Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Children's Book Podcast

Jan 17, 2023

Suma Subramaniam shares NAMASTE IS A GREETING, a sweet, universal text shining a light on a word with significance far beyond yoga class, and SHE SANG FOR INDIA, a picture book biography about M.S. Subbulakshmi, a powerful Indian singer who advocated for justice and peace through song. 


BOOK DESCRIPTION: Namaste Is a Greeting by Suma Subramaniam; illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat

Page Length: 32 pages

Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3

What is namaste? It's found in a smile, a friendship, a celebration. It exists in silence; it can be said when you're happy or when you're feeling low. 

For one small girl in a bustling city, namaste ("I bow to you") is all around her as she and her mother navigate a busy marketplace--and when she returns with a little plant and chooses to give it to an elderly neighbor, it can be seen in the caring bond between them. In a sweet, universal text, debut author Suma Subramaniam shines a light on a word with significance far beyond yoga class, while artist Sandhya Prabhat makes the concept of mindfulness come alive in delightful illustrations likely to draw children in again and again.


She Sang for India: How M.S. Subbulakshmi Used Her Voice for Change by Suma Subramaniam; illustrated by Shreya Gupta

Page Length: 40 pages

Ages 4 to 8

Before M.S. Subbulakshmi was a famous Carnatic singer and the first Indian woman to perform at the United Nations, she was a young girl with a prodigious voice.

But Subbulakshmi was not free to sing everywhere. In early 1900s India, girls were not allowed to perform for the public. So Subbulakshmi busted barriers to sing at small festivals. Eventually, she broke tradition to record her first album. She did not stop here. At Gandhi's request, Subbulakshmi sang for India's freedom. Her fascinating odyssey stretched across borders, and soon she was no longer just a young prodigy. She was a woman who changed the world.



(5:26) “My family was not made rich by wealth, but we were made rich by people.” 

(10:59)  “The power of such diverse friendships is the, you know, is, is the bonding and the hope that it brings in times of adversity.”

(12:42)  “There is no Carnatic music without M.S. Subbulakshmi, and there is no M.S. Subbulakshmi without Carnatic music.”

(18:11) “Art and music are great tools to channel our energy and bring about a positive change, especially in the minds of young people.” 

(18:57) “One doesn't need to know the language to appreciate good music.” 

(20:14) “You are loved. And this holiday season I hope you pay attention to species of all kinds who are lonely or who are having a difficult winter, and you give them a little bit of your time.” 





  1. Namaste is a sanskrit word. Can you recall what it means? What moments in your day have you practiced namaste? And what opportunities might you have to practice namaste before the day’s end?
  2. M.S. Subbulakshmi was a famous carnatic singer. How would you describe the music that she made? What does it make you feel? Does it remind you of any music you’ve heard before? What instruments could you hear in the recording that was shared?
  3. What is activism? And what barriers or limitations did M.S. Subbulakshmi work to break down or to make possible for others after her through her music? 
  4. BONUS: Suma mentioned her dog in her introduction and said that the dog likes to do something that, I’m guessing, is not a typical thing that dogs like to do. Can you recall what she shared?



This podcast episode of The Children’s Book Podcast was written, edited, and produced by Matthew Winner. For a full transcript of this episode, visit

Our podcast logo was created by Duke Stebbins ( 

Our music is by Podington Bear. 

Podcast hosting by Anchor. 

We are a proud member of Kids Listen, the best place to discover the best in kids podcasts. Learn more at


DISCLAIMER: affiliate links provided for any book titles mentioned in the episode. support independent book stores and also shares a small percentage of any sales made through this podcast back to me, which helps to fund production of this show.